ForumsThe TavernMini-Mystery 2. Status: Re-Opened

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MattEmAngel
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MattEmAngel
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With the Mod's blessing (again), I will post my second Mini-Mystery. So far I have written two, and this one is tougher. Plenty of false trails mixed with vital clues. It's not 100% waterproof, so ask if you don't understand a part of the scene.

I will reward guesses with hints or encouragement.

[SOME VIOLENCE/BLOOD. NO PROFANITY OR LEWD CONTENT. SUCK IT UP AND READ IT]

Italian Ice

MATTHEW ANGEL: DETECTIVE

The hotel room was small, but comfortable. The interior was decorated with a standard bed, table, and chair, with a single window facing the rear of the building. A bookshelf had been added to house a few novels and a Bible, none of which had ever been opened. One might have considered it a relatively pleasant place to live, with the small exception of the dead man.
His name was Giovanni Vespacci, an Italian immigrant who had only arrived in the United States a few weeks earlier. He had come alone from Sicily, and had no immediate family, wife, or children. The only thing on him was a cheap watch, a wallet with 50 euro banknotes in it, an Italian driverâs license and his passport. Only a few changes of clothes were in the single closet in the room. Other than that, everything about him was normal. Except that he was dead.
âSuicideâ, muttered Simon Mendoza, the officer in charge. Standing beside him was freelance detective Matthew Angel. He was inclined to agree. âAny news on the weapon?â he asked the officer, snapping on a latex glove and running a hand over the gun, a well-polished Smith & Wesson .38 revolver. âIt doesnât belong to him, Iâm guessing. An Italian immigrant, living in a hotel. He had just enough money to enter America. Owning a gun would be the last thing on his mindâ.
The officer nodded. âWe havenât figured out who it belongs to. It was most likely stolen, but the only fingerprints on it are his. Iâve got a few men asking around the neighborhood across the street. Then again, a gun may have been the first thing he wantedâ.
Angel barely glanced up. âDid he have enemies?â
Mendoza nodded again. âThere are some slight ties to the Italian Mafia, but nothing severeâ. He scowled. The crime scene was sickening.
Angel sighed. He reached over and lifted a magazine from the desk. It was printed in Italian. âSounds more like a hit than a suicideâ.
âNoâ, Mendoza objected. âIt was definitely suicide. The note confirms itâ.
There was indeed a note. The dead man was slumped over the desk, a single bullet in his right temple. The revolver was hanging loosely in his right hand, and the other hand covered a sheet of paper. Judging from the position of the objects, and the manâs body, Giovanni had simply written the note with an ink pen, which was lying on the desk nearby, lifted the gun to his head and fired. Angel examined it with a small LED flashlight. There were clear prints on the grip and trigger that matched Vespacciâs. The pistol had been loaded with a single bullet. Still wearing the glove, Angel released the cylinder and dropped the shell on the table. It had been recently fired.
And then he picked up the note.
The message, printed by hand in English, read âI can no longer live with myself. I have nothing, am nothing, and will never amount to anything. No longer can I bear the burden of my life of crime. I must carry the secrets of my past to the grave. God forgive me!â
Mendoza smirked. âIt certainly makes enough sense, wouldnât you say?â
âIâd say that the gun definitely didnât belong to himâ, Angel replied.
The officer frowned. âYou think he had someone else steal it for him? Who would have done that? He didnât have any friends here in the Statesâ.
âExactlyâ, Angel said. âThis man was assassinated. Two things in particular prove itâ.
HOW DID ANGEL KNOW? AND WHAT WERE THE TWO CLUES?

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pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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The man was a poor immigrant from Italy. He had no family and no friends in the US, and still had nothing on him but European money. There was a magazine in the room, but it was printed in Italian. The only other books he had access to were a few novels and a Bible, but they had ânever been openedâ. The note was written in perfect English.


1) He had moved to America recently like you said...so it makes sense for him not to have opened them yet. Maybe he isn't a big reader

2) Just because he is an immigrant doesn't mean he can't learn English. I know plenty of people that have never been to the US and don't have friends or family in the US, yet they can speak English

Itâs unlikely a man would stop to clean the exterior of a gun before shooting himself with it.


I'd argue this (as many of those that commit suicide don't just rush it.they take their time and prepare it..blah blah) but the following about the oil explains the gun as a clue quite well...so arguing it would just be frivolous

So yeah..big issue..the assumption that he doesn't know English..a proper detective wouldn't just assume by what he saw in the room that the victim doesn't know English. And if he did..in a court of law..he'd be screwed once the defending attorney says something along the lines of "it is completely possible that Giovanni learned English back in Italy, or even during his short time in America. All the magazine tells us is that he preferred to read in his native language"
MattEmAngel
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MattEmAngel
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It seems odd that an Italian, dying in a foreign country, would make peace with God and his family in a note that they wouldn't be able to read. The probability of him choosing English to write a suicide note, of all things, instead of his native language, is extremely small. If he preferred to READ in his native language, he would have preferred to WRITE in it as well!

On top of that is the lack of evidence on the gun. You will notice I didn't mention a fingerprint on the cartridge as well. He would have left an index and a thumbprint on the empty .38 cartridge Angel found in the chamber. The only description of the cartridge was that it had been "recently fired." No prints?

xeano321
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xeano321
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Hey Matt, what about the pen? Didn't they check it for fingerprints?

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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It seems odd that an Italian, dying in a foreign country, would make peace with God and his family in a note that they wouldn't be able to read. The probability of him choosing English to write a suicide note, of all things, instead of his native language, is extremely small. If he preferred to READ in his native language, he would have preferred to WRITE in it as well!


Writes not in English while in English speaking country...English speaking detectives find note...message is relayed to family

All I'm saying is...in a court of law...the note would not hold up and would be easily dismissible
pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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Writes not in English while in English speaking country


*note
MattEmAngel
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MattEmAngel
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No, I didn't mention fingerprints on the pen. I could have, but it would have been hard to do. If he inspected it for fingerprints and found none, it would have been way too obvious.

If you we're in Russia and knew your life was in danger and wanted to write a suicide note, would you write it in Russian, especially if you had only been there a few weeks, if that? I wouldn't. But if you're going to play it out ignoring probabilities, maybe he wrote the suicide note, stole a pair of gloves, stole the gun, loaded it, cocked the hammer, threw the gloves out the window, sat down and shot himself. If you're going to get extremely picky, you're not going to have any fun.

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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But if you're going to play it out ignoring probabilities


I'm not ignoring probabilities. I understand him writing it in a different language than his natural language is a small shot. But, like I said, in a court of law...this detail would have been dismissed. Not the whole case
MattEmAngel
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MattEmAngel
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Just go solve the new one. It will take you like 5 seconds. And list the clues.

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